It rained the day she left.
The sky was consumed by heavy grey clouds when we realized something was wrong. Sure, she liked her privacy, but not surfacing for 6 hours was a little suspicious. We searched for her in all the usual spots around the tower; the beach, the roof, the basement, even in the garage. As of late, she'd enjoyed tinkering with the T-Car behind Cy's back.
Robin was the one who suggested we check her room, but naturally I had to be the one who actually went in there. Cyborg volunteered to assist me, but realized he'd left something in the stove and bolted at the last minute. I didn't blame him. That place was freaky as anything.
Cautiously, I stepped in. It was so quiet, and so empty. It was just that she wasn't there, it was the entire room. It reeked of this gloomy, depressing emptiness like when someone dies. I lingered at the door a moment, before deciding to sift a little through her things. She, she would kill me if she found out, but I was concerned. She couldn't be too mad, right?
What I found shocked me. Or rather, it was what I DIDN'T find. Her drawers were barren, her closet bare. The shelves were stripped and I finally noticed that any ornaments hanging from the ceiling had been taken. Chests and boxes had been torn through and thrown back into place, all things of importance missing. I was scared. She wouldn't do this...she couldn't have.
There was a glimmer of hope. She left her mirror. It was a portal into her mind, she couldn't have gone TOO far without it, right? I snatched it up immediately, not thinking that there was the possibility that I would be sucked in again. Wincing, I glanced in and looked for an emotion I could talk to, someone that could clear it up. There was nothing. The mirror, other than reflecting my horrified expression, revealed anonymous black figures floating carelessly to and fro. The faces were all shrouded in shadow, and the cloaks were drawn up so no part of the body was exposed. They were like horrible, numb ghosts without a purpose. The four eyes that adorned the top of the mirror glowed a moment, before completely fading out.
Lightning struck and the thunder roar outside as the wind beat furiously at the windows.
I dropped the mirror. It shattered to a thousand pieces, and the figures emerged from the wreckage. They hung sadly in the air, before dissipating before my eyes. I ran back to the others screaming. Then it poured.
That was months ago. We filed a missing person's report, but it's hard to search for someone who does not want to be found. We did everything in our power to find her. We combed the city endlessly each night in search for our friend. But it didn't matter, she was gone.
Robin, being as obsessive as he is, proposed it was Slade who kidnapped her and was keeping her hostage as bait. But Starfire quickly pointed out that his theory was untrue, otherwise her things would have been left untouched. Though we refused to admit it, she'd left willingly.
I hated life without her. Something was always missing around the tower, and without her calm sensibility we fell apart. Well, physically we remained in tact; we were still a team. But emotionally, we drifted apart. Starfire's fear of the Rekkmas had been confirmed.
We didn't dare break up. We stayed together because of the faint glimmer of hope that she'd still come back.
So here I was, alone again. It wasn't uncommon; we barely spoke unless we had to. I sat on the couch, watching the raindrops race each other down the window. It hasn't stopped raining since she left. Don't think that's an exaggeration; meteorologists are baffled worldwide why the sun hasn't shone once.
She hadn't left my thoughts once. Ever since I lost Terra she was always the beacon that kept me going. We suddenly clicked, and shared this wonderful connection that would take others years to build. She let me in and I liked who she was. She was this brilliant, beautiful woman who had the burden of hiding herself for our sakes. I never realized how much she suffered.
There was a thump on the roof, like someone was touching down. I glanced up at the ceiling suspiciously and debated whether or not to investigate. It was probably some stupid kid who had figured out a way to get up there. But, my curiosity got the best of me, and I took the harrowing climb upstairs.
I reached the door that led to the roof and creaked it open a tad. The rain was pelting the surface violently and rapidly, almost to the point that it hurt. Nonetheless, I shielded my eyes and scanned the area for something. When I found nothing, I grumbled a few choice words under my breath and turned to retreat back inside. But then I found something.
A silhouette was seated on the far edge of the tower, hunched over and hugging their knees protectively. There was some kind of cape folded neatly beside them, and the scarceness of their clothes made me wonder why they weren't freezing. Slowly I approached it.
"Hey! Kid!" I called. They did not respond. "You! This is private property! You can't-"And I froze. There was no way it could be. She was gone, she abandoned us. She ripped me to shreds because she disappeared. She was history; a mere memory that I'd told myself had no way of coming back. And yet here she was.
You took your coat off
And stood in the rain.
You were always crazy like that
"RAVEN!" I screamed, and rushed to her immediately and pulled her into an embrace. She was dripping wet and shivering, so I pressed her head into my chest as I gripped her soaking shoulders. I thought she would flip with this kind of affection, but surprisingly she did nothing. I let my hands briefly explore her back; I could feel each individual bone.
I pulled away finally, and held her at arms length away to examine her. Her hair was longer, reaching just between her shoulder blades, and it curled slightly because of the downpour. Even though she had always been slender and possessed a naturally pale hue to her skin, she looked far too skinny for her own good, and her skin was bland and sickly.
My eyes wandered to her cloak. It remained folded on the ground while she sat there, probably catching pneumonia. I grabbed it and went to drape it around her, but she shrugged it off with a cold, curt turn. I wrung the soaking fabric in my hands and watched her, frightened.
And I watched from my window,
Always felt I was outside, looking in
She refused to look at me and would not let the cloak touch her, so we sat there in the middle of the storm in silence. I couldn't stand it anymore, I finally spoke.
"Rae, where did you go?" I asked softly. She didn't move. "Was it something we did to you? Did I do something wrong?" Raven didn't speak a word. Her eyes remained hooded and her lips were loosely parted over her teeth. I didn't say anything for a moment and pondered her being. She had always intrigued me. Something about her was fascinating; she was so controlled, so furtive and hidden. And she was strong. She had to be; I couldn't imagine what it was like to be completely unfeeling towards everything.
You were always the mysterious one with
Dark eyes and careless hair,
You were, fashionably sensitive
But too cool to care
"Raven, you have to tell me. I'm one of your closest friends, you can tell me anything."
She remained silent. I could feel my concern slowly changing to frustration, but I kept it under control for her sake. She was obviously in pain, and I didn't want to hurt her any more. "Ok...do you want to go inside? It's crazy out here. I can warm you up and we can tell everyone you're home."
I could have sworn she seemed repulsed by the idea of going inside and looked away from me once again. She treated the situation like nothing had happened, like I had done something stupid and she was pissed. Hello, she left us! Why didn't she care?
You stood in my doorway, with nothing to say
I heard her take a breath as she prepared to speak. This was it. She would explain everything and we'd go back to the way we were.
"Strange weather, huh?"
I thought I would tumble right off the roof. I stared at her, bewildered, as my breath grew heavy and quick. "What?" I asked, my temper bubbling to the surface. "That's all you have to say....after countless nights of worrying that's all you have to say?!" I couldn't stop it, my pent up aggression of the past 6 months exploded in my face.
Besides some comment on the weather
"Raven-how the HELL could you be so selfish? Are you really that conceited? Just abandoning us without so much as a goodbye? Little Miss Queen of Darkness could have at LEAST lowered herself enough to do that!"
She still said nothing, and that only made me angrier.
"I can't believe you! I-I thought you were better than that! You leave us for half of a god damn year, and then you just reappear and all you have to talk about is the fucking rain?!"
I winced at my rare usage of obscenities, but continued.
"Do you have any idea what we did for you? We-We were relentless! We did everything to find you! Do you know what the Hell you put us through?!"
Well in case you failed to notice
"Honestly, what possibly possessed you to do something like this?! Now, because of you, Starfire won't stop crying, Robin's buried so far in his work we haven't seen him in days, Cyborg won't touch the T-Car and me-"
I paused to catch myself. Did I really want to tell her that? I eyed her up and down, hunched over and probably ignoring me. It didn't matter what I said. I spoke coolly and evenly, making sure to use the perfect words.
In case you failed to see
"-Raven, I stopped. Everything shut down. I didn't feel anything, nor did I have the desire to. When you left, you took a part of me I can never get back. You ARE part of me Rae, and when I found out you were gone, I-I was helpless. You're killing me. Slowly and surely, you're killing me. All I wanted was for you to be happy and you spat in my face. Our friendship meant nothing to you. You want me dead. You're killing me."
This is my heart, bleeding before you
She laughed. I swear to God she laughed. A dry, cynical chuckle escaped her throat and she threw her head back and let it take over. I wanted to slap her. I had just born my soul, shown her everything that had been pent up for so long, and she was mocking me.
"Why are you LAUGHING?! Was that not enough for you? What more do you want from me?! I'll slit my own throat and keep it off your god damn cloak if that's what you want! What the hell is your problem?!"
This is me down on my knees
"I find it funny, is all." she spoke again, turning just so I could see her profile. I hated her voice. It was dark and crusted with countless hours of pain and suffering. It wasn't her voice. It just wasn't Raven.
"What do you find funny, exactly?" my voice was wearing down, wavering a bit as I rasped out the words.
"You think I'm killing you, but in reality you know absolutely nothing about death."
"And YOU do?"
"Yes." she whispered now, and turned to face me completely. She stood up, staggering but maintaining a kind of stalwartness about her. I finally saw her eyes, and right away I wished I hadn't. They were, nothing. Two sunken amethyst orbs devoid of anything. There was a time I could see each emotion come into play with the flash of the eye. Her eyes were the only things that could show emotion; he exterior would be cold and impassive, but her eyes would twinkle and dance and tell me everything. Now, all I saw was emptiness.
"Yes, I do know about death. Because I'm dying."
These foolish games are
Tearing me apart.
And your thoughtless words are
Breaking my heart.
You're breaking my heart
Her words tore into me and ripped apart everything. My anger vanished and a wave of guilt flooded over me. I stumbled back a step and strained for air as I watched her, terrified.
"You-you're joking. This is all some sick prank, isn't it?"
"Pranks are more your forte. This is real."
"That's why I left. I couldn't let you know."
"We would have helped you...."
"That's what I feared. The last thing I needed was for you to work effortlessly to heal me with no avail. My death is inevitable, and I knew when I did you would blame yourselves."
"Raven, we're your friends, we just-"
"Beast Boy," her new demeanor mangled my name, "let me finish. I thought if I just packed up and left you would hate me. It's so much easier to hate than to love, Beast Boy. If you hated me you could use that emotion to continue as a team and move on. If you mourned for me everything would fall to pieces. You would stay together, and I would die alone. It's what I wanted."
"It's what I want. Give a dying girl her wish."
I wanted to cry so badly. I wanted to grab her and weep into her shoulder and awaken her from this emotionless sickness. I wanted her to cry, or smile, or feel something. Anything.
I couldn't talk for a long time. I drew in closer and examined her. My mind wandered back to before. Everything was perfect. She was intelligent, stunning, and immaculate in every sense of the word. I remembered when she would prepare her tea and catch me staring at her. I'd try to hide behind a magazine or tv show, but she always caught me, and would beckon me to join her. We would talk about common things like the weather or the team's issues (like who used the last tube of toothpaste or who's turn was it to take out the trash.) But mostly we would talk about art. She loved art in all forms. Hearing her speak so passionately about something was refreshing; it reminded me how lucky I was to have someone so remarkable as a friend.
You were always brilliant in the morning.
Smoking your cigarettes,
And talking over coffee
Out of everything she adored, music was her favorite. She would wake up earlier than everyone else and play classical music as she read. I would get up just to watch her. She'd nuzzle herself into the couch with a novel in her lap, and I had never seen her happier. She'd close her eyes and conduct the music with her fingertips as this expression of pure contentment lit up her face. She never was prettier.
Your philosophies on art, Baroque moved you.
You loved Mozart
And you'd speak of your loved ones
As I clumsily strummed my guitar
Now, I was left with the remains that was once my friend. I leaned in a bit, hating the fact I now towered over her. Another change I was not willing to accept.
"It's him, isn't it?" I asked, my rage building once again. Raven looked up and raised and eyebrow. She wasn't supposed to play dumb because she WAS NOT dumb. I hated everything she became. I hated whoever dared to make her this was.
"The red psycho in your head. The one who tried to kill you. He mad you go haywire on Dr. Light. He got to you, didn't he? DIDN'T HE?!"
"Beast Boy, no-"
"I'll kill him. I will rip his head off. He can't do this to you! I'm gonna make this right, Rae, I promise I'll tear the bastard to seams-"
"My father has nothing to do with this."
I paused, confused, and blinked a few times. Subconsciously I realized how all the while the rain did not relent.
You'd teach me of honest things,
Things that were daring, things that were clean.
Things that knew what an honest dollar did mean.
"You see, my mind is a dangerous place. You've seen it. What happened was the barrier I had built to lock my emotions in was torn down. Nothing could have stopped it. My emotions scattered and began controlling my powers. I had to stop it."
"So, how did this happen?"
She stopped, and looked up to me as her eyelids slowly closed and reopened.
And I knew.
"Oh my God...it was me..."
She furrowed her brow and tilted her head slightly.
"What are you talking about?"
"That day-when we couldn't find you-I-I went in your room. I found your mirror and I saw all these black shadows and I thought....I dropped the mirror and I broke it. It probably released your emotions and made you like this. Oh, God Rae.....I am so, so sorry...." I buried my face in my hands in shame.
I hid my soiled hands behind my back.
Somewhere along the line, I must've gone
Off track with you
She blinked very slowly again. "It wasn't you." I glanced up. "It was me."
I was shocked, and fear gripped around my neck. "You-YOU WHAT?!"
"I had to do it. My powers were unstable, uncontrollable. I couldn't stop myself. So I destroyed my emotions. Every last one. I stripped their essence and sent it to another dimension, where I destroyed them. All that was left were those figures you saw. They stayed in the mirror because they had no other place to go. I'm completely blank, there's nothing for them to expose so they wander aimlessly in my mind. That's why I left the mirror, it was useless. The mirror's not broken, Beast Boy. I am."
My eyes burned, begging me to cry, but for her I did not. I wouldn't dare taunt her with my emotions when she could not feel a thing.
"So-how are you dying?"
"My powers are driven by my emotions. When they don't exist, there's nothing to drive them. My powers deteriorated. There's only a tiny sliver left. When that's gone, so am I."
I let her chilling words hang in the air before they were pushed down by the deluge. I couldn't stand it anymore, I reached for her and wrapped my arms around her cantankerous form. I hoped something would sparked, and I would heal her. I hated to see her in this much pain. But she didn't respond. She didn't even move. I released her and bit my lip, gazing at her as I struggled to hold everything in.
I can't do it for 5 minutes. I have no idea how she did it every day.
"I must go."
NO! She couldn't leave me, not again, not when I'd seen her finally after all this time!
"Raven, no! You can't abandon me again! I couldn't deal with it once!"
She shook her head. "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
Well excuse me,
Seems I'm mistaking you for somebody else
I couldn't believe her. In spite of myself, in a meld of frustration, anger, and sorrow, I wept. I screamed at her and I wept. All the while she said nothing, staring at me with those hardened, dead eyes.
"You can't do this Rae! I'll find a way to fix you! I'll make it better! Just promise me you won't leave me again! I couldn't do it again!"
There was a moment when I thought she'd comply. I was wrong.
"Tell the others I died."
Somebody who gave a damn,
Somebody more like myself
"WHAT?! Why would I do that?! I'm telling them everything!"
"WHY THE HELL NOT?!"
"They can never know I was here. I'm dead to them all, including you."
I was openly sobbing at this point. "You can never be dead to me, why don't you understand that?!"
"I did this to protect you. All of this was for the team. If I didn't I would kill you all. I never wanted to see you guys hurt, especially you." She grazed her fingertips against my soaking cheek. There was still hope!
"You feel something for me! You see! You can come back!"
She smiled sadly and shook her head. "Beast Boy, there are things you simply will not understand. You were a wonderful friend, remember none of this is your fault."
She turned and began walking to the edge, the rain beating down on her calloused back. I fell to my knees and snatched her hand in both of my own. She was so numb.
These foolish games are
Tearing me, they're tearing me, they're tearing me apart.
"RAVEN you can't do this! I won't let you go off to be alone and DIE! Please, I'm begging you, don't go! I can't live without you!"
She started at my hands and her own, her eyes never exposing anything.
"Well, you're going to have to learn how."
And your thoughtless words are
Breaking my heart.
And she snatched her hand away and flew into the heart of the storm. I screamed her name after but she did not return. She would never return. I knew I would never see her again, all because she had to be the selfless hero. She would die for us, and the others would never know why.
You're breaking my heart.
I held her dripping cloak close to my body and sobbed into it. The only part of her that remained, a soaking mess of cloth. I bent into it, letting the bitter cold consume me. The rain pounded harder and harder into me, the freezing droplets each leaving their mark of mockery. I felt cold. I felt weak.
And suddenly, I felt nothing. I was numb, immune to all feelings.
Just like Raven.
You took your coat off,
And stood in the rain.
You were always crazy like that